by Flávio Jose Rocha da Silva
One of my ministries here in the periphery of São Paulo is working in a holistic health Center called Planting Seeds of Goodness run by Franciscan Catechist Sisters. The center offers different alternative health treatments on a sliding scale and is located in the outskirts of this megacity in a neighborhood called Jardim Capela. Violence connected to drug trafficking is common there and the Jardim Capela’s residents especially women show symptoms of trauma such as insomnia, high blood pressures, anxiety, etc. The sisters started the Project with some local women to deal with these issues.
My ministry includes Auriculotherapy and Reiki sessions along with helping the sisters to organize the project, leading formation with the volunteers on different topics such as community leadership, healthy food and environmental education.
Every year the Planting Seeds of Goodness Project organizes a Saint John Festival in June to remember Saint John (he is a honored saint in the Northeast of the country, where most of the people came from to São Paulo in the seventies and eighties). The women prepare corn dishes to sell and raise money for the Project. Lots of people from the neighborhood come to celebrate their cultural and religious roots. In this way we are also healing cultural distance in a city made up of people from all parts of Brazil and other parts of the world. I often tell them that the most important thing that the Project does is bringing people together and this is already a service to the community, as people are living more and more isolated in the big cities.
After working with them for the last two years, I believe that we are finally forging a sense of community among ourselves through celebrations, prayer moments and eating together. During Holy Week, for example, we did a beautiful washing of the feet celebration to remind ourselves why we are there and that our ministry together is already a way to heal that community.